I seem to be spending a great deal of time reflecting lately. Maybe due to the start of this blog, maybe because of so many changes for so many of my family and friends, maybe I’m just getting old(er)!
I am blessed. That statement is probably over used, but it is the simple, absolute truth.
As a child I remember my Daddy waking us up at 0-dark-thiry on Saturday with “get up girls! We’re going to Chattanooga for lunch!” I played in mountain streams cold enough to chill our watermelon while camping. My Mother skipped lunch every Thursday during football season while Sandi and I were in Jr. High, so she could get to the games and see us in the band – just sitting in the stands playing! We drove across the country in a Ford Falcon to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico because Daddy was an Explorer leader. We spent hours and hours at the lake skiing, and taking whomever wanted to go with us. I had parents who were involved – probably more than I wanted at times! I am blessed.
And while getting up at ungodly hours to wash band T-shirts before competition trips, or spending hours painting sets and applying mountains of glitter to anything and everything may not be your cup of tea, to me those things are priceless. I worked concessions during hockey games and special events at what was then the Sommet Center in Nashville for four years to pay band fees at my children’s high school. While that was frustrating and extremely tiring (especially weekday games!), the friendships, the bonds, that were formed are beyond explaining. I have a “paint shirt and jeans” with every color of every set of every play during my daughter’s high school career. I am STILL vacuuming glitter out of my living room rug (K graduated in 2013)! There were car washes and yard sales – fund raising for theater. I was TIRED! But hearing my kids and my “other kids” call me mom, and hug my neck – far outweighs any lack of rest. I am blessed.
I have been divorced. It’s ugly and it’s painful, and one of the worst experiences of my life. But I had family and friends come around me, and love me, and encourage me – and jerk a knot in my tail when I needed that too! True friends give you the hard stuff too. I have some of those! While I was hurting and walking through that awful moment in time, one of my very best friends was too – at almost the exact same pace. And now – this weekend – I get to be there as she marries a man who loves and adores her, as she deserves. I am blessed!
In May of 2016, we moved my parents into our home, two doors down from my sister and brother-in-love. She had stage 4 ovarian cancer. It was our turn – our parents needed us. For 3 months we were able to help where we could, talk to her, love on her. In spite of the frustration and struggle to watch the Mother I knew disappear, I am glad we were able to be there when she needed us. The morning Mother traded up to her mansion, she was at home, surrounded by her family. I am blessed.
And now Daddy lives with us. I’m a Daddy’s girl – always have been, always will be. I help with his laundry – he’s pretty self-sufficient! I do his medicines. Sandi handles the bills (THANK GOD! Money is NOT my strong suit!). We watch Wheel and Jeopardy and NCIS; he answers our questions about his childhood and school years with funny stories and thoughtful moments. Sandi and I take turns cooking dinners; it’s sort of a little Harris commune! But I was gone from Georgia for almost 30 years. The time I’ve been able to spend with my Daddy in the last 2 years is priceless. I am blessed.
The children. I have two by birth, and one bonus daughter by marriage (I’ve known her since she was born so there was no learning to love her – I already did!). They are fun and entertaining! “Never a dull moment” does not even BEGIN to cover it! They are all growing to be strong, independent young adults, contributing members of society. They are good people. All three are talented and intelligent with good heads on their shoulders, good hearts, and a passion for life. I am proud to be their mom – birth or step! I am blessed.
Jimmy. This man was created by God, for me. He has been my best “guy friend” since the 10th grade. He still is. We got married in October 2015, while he was still working in Charlotte, NC. He got a job in Atlanta and started in January 2016. We moved my parents in to our home in May. 4 months. We had 4 months alone. And he just takes it all in stride (except that thermostat thing! Just kidding sweetie!!). I have asked more of him than anyone should have to handle. He is kind and gentle and strong and smart and funny and loving and honest and trustworthy and just fun to be around. He KNOWS me – the good, the bad, and the ugly. He has my back, no matter what. He loves my family – and it’s a big one! He loves my kids. He treats me like a queen. We are “those people”. You know, the ones always hugging or holding hands or a little smooch here and there. And I love it! I am blessed.
Deuteronomy 30:3 says “God, your God, will restore everything you lost; He’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered.” God has picked up my pieces; He has restored me; He has restored my family; He has restored my faith. He has healed my heart and shown me how to love, really love. He has taught me to appreciate and not take anything for granted. I am grateful. I am thankful. I am blessed.